The defender lifted two I-League titles with Gokulam Kerala FC.

Further strengthening the core of their Indian contingent, Indian Super League Champions Hyderabad FC have completed the signing of defender Alex Saji on a long-term contract, the club announced on Friday.

“Hyderabad FC is a team that gives a lot of opportunities to the young players in the country and I am very much excited to be a part of this club. It is a great platform for a player like me.

“I am looking forward to playing under coach Manolo and learning more to improve my game. It will be an exciting season, my first in the ISL, and I can’t wait to get started,” Alex Saji said after putting pen to paper on a deal that will keep him with the club till the 2024-25 season.

Born and brought up in Wayanad, Kerala, Saji started out with the Red Star Football Academy. He has since represented Gokulam Kerala in the I-League, garnering valuable experience. Saji also lifted the I-League title twice with the Malabarians in back-to-back seasons.

A central defender who can be effective at right-back as well, the 22-year-old has 26 I-League appearances to his name and also started all three games for Gokulam Kerala in the AFC Cup Group Stages recently.

After an impressive couple of seasons in the Indian domestic circuit, Saji was also called up for the U23 National Team for the previous AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualification campaign.

Saji is now ready for his first season in the Indian Super League, and will be a part of the first team that will train under Manolo Marquez for the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.

Hyderabad FC’s preparation for ISL 2022-23

The defending ISL champions have been working hard to retain their already strong core. Hyderabad FC have already extended coach Manolo Marquez’s contract, while Akash Mishra, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Javi Siverio, Sahil Tavora, Joel Chianese, Halicharan Narzary and Laxmikant Kattimani have all prolonged their stay at the club.

Hyderabad FC have lost Asish Rai, who joined ATK Mohun Bagan, while they have also released Nikhil Prabhu, who made his loan move to Odisha FC permanent.

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